With just one day to go all I can say is I never thought this day would come. This is my long accounting of George W. Bush and that which he wrought upon our nation. It’s not a full catharsis, but merely the start so that we may say Never Again.
2000 Election – My Confessional
I can remember exactly where I was the moment the news stations called the 2000 election for Bush. On a treadmill in Perth, Australia. Everyone in the gym looked in my direction to see what the lone American thought of her next president. Mind you, this was before the news stations realized they had committed the media blunder of the century and we’d have to wait for characters like Katherine Harris and hanging chads to become famous before the Supreme Court decided who our next president was.
Having recently graduated college and, thus, deciding to party like a rock star, I was too clueless to get my act together and send in an absentee ballot to participate in the election. It’s the only one I’ve missed and will carry the shame until dementia erodes my cognitive abilities. I would have voted for Bush, though. Gore was such a lame douchebag (not to mention Lieberman) and I had yet to fully shed the Republican shackles of my youth. Hell,as a University of Texas student, Bush had been my neighbor. No one knew the gravity of the election and most people I knew were eager to see our governor succeed.
During the campaign, Bush kept saying the U.S. had to stop being the world’s policeman and scale back our military entanglements around the globe. Having recently studied the Vietnam War, international diplomacy, nuclear weapons policy and the fall of the Soviet Union – his rhetoric hit home with me. How was I to know he’d do a 180 once he had his finger over the red button?
This was before the convenient days of Google and Wikipedia. And I was clinging to the bubble of youthful ignorance with full force, which meant I did not research W’s history. I did not discover that he was an utterly failed businessman who had skated through early adulthood like many rich kids on his daddy’s name without forging a worthy identity or principle. I did not know the man was a hollow shell with only a pre-determined ideology and a daddy complex to steer decisions that would determine the fate of millions.
2004 – Was Bush Sent to Make this Nation Atone for Sins of its Past?
By 2004, it was glaringly apparent that Bush was incapable of the necessary consideration and deliberation to benefit this country or any other. In the primaries, I voted for Wes Clark, thinking him to be the only Democrat candidate who could reasonably compete with Bush for votes while the Iraq War of choice was being waged. Instead, John Kerry walked away with the nomination and I knew Bush would be reelected. Kerry was a non-starter, running on an “I’m Not Bush” platform, echoing the dismal reality that the Democrats had no voice, no testicular fortitude, no message.
Our country was to be held hostage for another four years by the evangelical, anti-intellectual far right and their moronic leader. I truly believed (living in Oklahoma, at the time) that the majority of this country were actually uneducated hicks who cared more about their guns than community service and thought it more important to have a big dick than humility. It was as though the America I thought existed was being suffocated by the intolerant and selfish and stupid.
I immediately bought a “01.20.09” bumper sticker, proudly displaying my patriotic desire to alter the direction of our nation. I wasn’t alone. Every time I saw another car sporting the same sticker – more than you’d expect here in north Texas – my heart leapt for joy. The peeps were waking up.The tide was turning, biatch.
THE WORST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY
It has been a most painful four years. Gay marriage bans, attempts at abortion redefinitions, no repentance for sending thousands to die for a war of choice – a war based on lies and deceit and salesmanship, and almost every department under the Executive Branch in ill repute for either illegal activity or preventing progress.
Bush is so smug with pride over the fact that the U.S. has not been attacked since 9/11. “I’ve kept America safe,” he repeats. But another leader of higher caliber could have kept us safe without sacrificing our dignity, integrity and honor. A better leader would have questioned his decisions, would not started or outsourced a war designed to establish a legacy. A better leader would have known things are not so simple, not so black and white, and not easily designated “good” and “evil.”
How many Americans did Bush keep safe from Alzheimer’s and diabetes and paralysis by supporting the limitless possibilities of embryonic stem research? How many teenage girls turned to abortion because Bush decided federal funds would support abstinence-only programs proven time and time again to fail, aptly demonstrated by the 2008 Republican V.P. nominee herself? Bush’s legacy entails auctioning off national protected lands (why?) and hindering the listing of many species (including polar bears) from the endangered species list.
At every turn available, the Bush administration sold out this country and it’s citizens to the mega-corporations designed to bleed every penny we have and every penny we’re approved for from our shrinking wallets. He sold the war and soldiers’ safety to Blackwater, Halliburton and myriad of other war profiteers. He sold our energy policy to the energy companies, the EPA to business hell-bent on raping the environment. Even the FDA is a joke, a corporate gimp with a failed record for protecting the consumer.
Under Bush, our nation became a budding autocracy who spies on its citizens at home and abroad. The Justice Department was politicized, the State Department was a Yes Man, the Defense Department was the epitome of incompetence, Homeland Security is a theatrical presentation, FEMA is a mythological black hole, the CIA is a plaything of the Executive. The FCC has multiplied its interference in our “freedom of speech” a thousand-fold.
There has been no shining light from this President. No progress. No national greatness achieved. He came to office promising to unite and instead tore our country asunder.
With less than 24 hours to go it almost doesn’t seem real. Probably because it will take a generation repair the endless damage that clouds the horizon.
Obviously, I do not believe history will smile on George W. Bush. Unlike others, I do not think that his legacy will mirror the future of Iraq. The Iraq War empowered Iran like nothing else could for centuries – and history knows. In this age of information, ALL the destruction by this administration is on record and serves as a reminder that it does matter who the President of the United States is. Their character and integrity and intellect matter. Their decision-making matter.
We must remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We cannot let time sweeten the memory of the last eight years. We must record it and remember it for the sake of future generations. So that we may say with conviction: NEVER AGAIN.
Is it real? It doesn’t feel real.